ELEPHANT NEST: CHAPTER 1.1
My thumb caresses the cylinder of the nickel plated, 38. Calibre revolver, resting on my lap, beneath the desk. With each of the six chambers still heavy from the burden of yesterdays thwarted hopes and desires and todays potential daydreams.
I sliver the tip of my finger across the barrel of the glimmering steel and catch my distorted reflection stretched across it.
I don’t recognise him.
Today, we are in the Mandela office, the last disciplinary I had, which was about three weeks ago, we were in Luther King. Each office, you may have guessed, is named after important, historical, inspirational figures, all men of course ... Standard.
Ironic really, Mandela on the door as you walk in and some pen pushing Hitler waiting for you when you enter. She- yes, this particular Hitler is a she, except her moustache is more prominent; those dark bristles run all the way across her top lip, drooping down at each end, like a millipede that has just accepted the futility of its own pointless existence- anyway, as I entered, she motioned for me to take a seat, her open palm, gliding, ceremoniously, across the table; like so many a fraudulent fortune teller.
With one flamboyant stretch of the leg I swiftly strode across the room and planted myself in the chair opposite and began caressing the revolver beneath the desk. Then I smiled, serenely, like some shy, bald Buddhist, content with the potential carnage lying fully loaded near my crotch. (Note: I saw a punk-Buddhist once, I was trying to reduce my stress levels by practicing transcendental meditation. His advice? Sit down, close your eyes, and shut the fuck up.)
My thumb “clicks” the next chamber in line with the hammer, the bullet has Hitler’s- I mean, Heathers name written all over it.
Heathers three middle fingers tap, one after the other, drhup-dhrup, dhrup-dhrup, waiting … then, “So, Simon, you do know why you are here, don’t you?”
“What, in the existential sense?” I tease.
Drhup-dhrup, those fingers, again. I should take her and this situation more seriously, but my penchant for sarcasm overwhelms me, “My endless streak of bad luck?” I answer, coyly.
Drhup, dru- Her fingers stop mid-air, like the raised legs of a Tarantula assuming the perfunctory, don’t dare fuck with me, pose!
“ … Punctuality?” I answer, rhetorically.
Drhup drhu- her middle finger stays up, waiting …
Heather, holds up here stick insect arms and “Bravo, Simon, Brrra-vo.”
My thumb presses the cylinder of my 38. Calibre.
Heather, turns her head slightly to address the pile of smirk and bile that is sat behind her. Its name is Julian, Julian being the kind of name you would give a turd if turds had names.
Julian looks at, well, either me or the back of Heathers head. You see, you can never be sure who it is Julian is actually looking at, unless of course you are the only person in the room, but even then, the geographical intentions of those beady little slits in his face are still up for debate. His eye-balls are, how should one put it? Confused? In a perpetual state of conflict, with each other?
“How many this quarter?” Heather asks.
“Oh, let’s see shall we”, He licks a finger, turns a page, “Three in the last, oh! Just in this past month.” Julian’s boz-eyed-eye-balls glare at me (I think) “let alone this term, Heather.”
I grip the revolver, thumb the cylinder.
“Punctuality has never been your strong point has it, Simon?” Her lips pout and that poor millipede shrivels.
“Thought we were discussing my absence?”
“Same thing.” Julian interjects, whilst jotting away the meetings minutes in his little pad.
“No it isn’t.” I retort.
“Yes it is!”
“Look, (you cross-eyed little fuck!”) One implies being late for an event at a certain place at a certain time, and the other concludes that one was never there at all.”
“Potato, patato.” He says.
“Julian, Julie.” I reply. He grips his pen, I grin my pearly whites. Back of the net!
“Enough!” Heather, demands. She glances, furtively, at my personal file, feigning surprise at the list of crimes and misdemeanours and, let’s not forget, the obligatory shaking of her disappointed head.
Dhrup-dhrup … Heather and I play a little game of silence, Julian, the pedantic little twat that he is, jots down the silence. I exhale a purposeful sigh, and like clockwork, Julian’s head drops to the page (At 13:30, Greenwich Meantime, Simon, sighed.)
I thumb the cylinder.
“I remember,” Heather muses, “When you first joined the company, you were one of our star employees.” Her we go, the big retrospective speech. “You had pride in your work … and then it all went, well … downhill.”
“Waaay downhill.” Thanks, once again, from her eternally, grateful, corporate cuckhold.
Behind the glass of water, her fingers look stretched and fat, but as they creep out from behind it they become long and thin, like some alopecia suffering Tarantula.
“You rose quickly, Simon. Faster than anyone I had ever seen.”
Her rhetoric became so boring to young Simon that his mind trailed off somewhere beyond the sky beyond the atmosphere, beyond the Moon and off into deep, deep space. So boring that each of the planets stopped rotating, tilted to one side and died a slow death. So boring that the Moons magnetic pull diminished, the Oceans of the Earth no longer roared they whimpered and the waves no longer rolled, but trickled to a dead. Flat. Nothing.
Dhrup-dhrup … “How do you go from that Simon, to,” She looks me up and down, “This …?”
That bald Tarantula creeps over my personal file, across the desk, to the edge and raises those legs, revealing its fangs!
I thumb the cylinder.
“You used to love working here, Simon. I think it’s a great company to work for.” That millipede cringes.
“Great location.” Julian, says. Julian being the kind of name you would give a child if you planned on hating the little fucker as soon as it was born.
“Such a shame.” Heathers disappointed head, again.
“But, you threw it all away, didn’t you?” Julian, being the kind of name you would use to reprimand said child to piss the little bastard off for being unruly. No telling off required, just a simple, oi! … JULIAN! “MMUM!” The little shit would then cry.
Heather looks out the window, “A fine city to live and work in, I’m sure you agree?”
Yeah, this is the capital call-centre city of the country, half the city works here and the other half calls to give us shit.
And we take it.
“Full company perks.” She adds.
Yes, and a daily rectal exam.
“And then there’s the annual celebrations.” Thanks, once again, from our cross-eyed cuck.
“Then!” Heather beams, “The summer awards ceremony, three course meal, fine dining, champagne toasts.”
To see who gets the release of resignation and who gets the spit-roast?
“You were given opportunities … options, Simon, options.”
Yeah, there are always two options that you can trust, up the brown or down the oesophagus.
“I even put you forward to be in one of our very own commercials.” She says, mournful.
Great, it’s always been my life’s dream to get fisted by Satan on national Television.
“You could have been famous …”
Sons and daughters of England, I give you my Sphincter.
“Who knows what that could have led to?”
Oscar, BAFTA, the fucking lot.
“God, Simon. Dear, God.” she says, regretfully, “You could have been just like,” She motions to the cuck, “What’s-his-name? You know, from the banking adverts?”
“You mean the Halifax?”
“Oh, oh.” Julian, perks up, looking ready to bust a proverbial nut, “The black one?”
“With the bald head?”
“That’s the one!”
“Halifax Howard!” Heather confirms, “You could have been our very own Halifax Howard.” She cups the millipede like some gold digging widower pretending she gives a shit, “Our very own Howard, Simon. Halifax Howard … He’s practically a national treasure.”
Julian rests his pencil, “And he met Ricky Gervais.”
The walls behind her begin to ripple, breath and stretch, as if somehow alive.
Julian’s tongue slides out, splits at the end like a Snake. He hisses at me.
The Tarantula crawls onto my knee, creeps up the leg, those fingers feeling up my chest, chin and lips.
Julian’s snake tongue swirling beside me, the walls breathing, click! The tongue slides up and down my cheek, click, click! Julian’s bile running down my face. Pencil scratches paper, scribbling, scraping. Julian hisses, Heather smiles, Julian smirks, the Tarantula crawls over my face, that tongue twists inside my ear, those fingers picking at my nostrils, click, fucking click! The walls, the tongue, the millipede and then the obligatory shaking of that disappointed fucking head, again!
Hammer cocked, the site locked.
Heather, flustered, terrified.
Our eyes lock, I smile, squeeze the trigger, the Millipede jumps ship as her face vacates the premises, she flies back in her chair, the jelly-fish in her head splats an artful collage of crimson across the back wall. Her blood drips and forms the shape of the company’s emblem (coz she’s a company stooge to the bitter fucking end.” I grab the cuck, throw him against the glass pane: a Spiders web spreads out behind him, he freezes my finger squeezes and alas, he crashes through the glass!
I step out onto the call centre floor, crushing shards of glass under my feet. My fellow cadavers- I mean co-workers, all stand and applause unanimously.
Champagne shoots, balloons burst, signatures signed!
I stand proud.
Like a Soldier returning from the trenches.
My work here is done. (Note: Transcendental-punk-meditation wasn’t for me … clearly.)